By Editor ‘arris
|The classic Dakar Rally shot!Photo: Maindru Photo|
Okay, I’m going to be honest here. Before October of this year I didn’t know much at all about the Dakar Rally other than it was a two week rally from somewhere in Europe to somewhere in Africa. Trucks, cars and motorcycles all entered, lots of people didn’t finish, some of them even died.
That was it.
Then, while on a trip to see the in-laws at Thanksgiving, my girlfriend passed me a print-out of someone’s account of what it had been like to ride the 2005 Rally. She being one of those Dakar nut types, I thought I’d humour her by reading a couple of pages, feign tiredness and head to bed.
Trouble is, by page two I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down (the diary that is), and I consumed this 18 day account from start to end. Question was; who wrote this and how do we get it on CMG?
The author was Canada’s own Bob Bergman – a guy I’d actually met before while doing last summer’s Paris-Dacre (Ontario) Rally – an event put on in his honour. At that time, Bob was just a guy in an official Dakar Rally shirt who started the day’s proceedings. Now he was someone I wanted to meet and find out just what made him tick.
CMG Profiles Bob Bergman was the initial result, the Dakar diaries – which you’re about to read next – are the next, as Bob graciously gave us permission to republish them.
We’ve done some minor editing, added a glossary to help the uninitiated (including me) to understand some of the terminology, and managed to get some pictures from the official Dakar photographer – Michel Maindru.
In order to maximize effect, we’re going to post one day at a time, to coincide with the 2006 Rally, which we’ll link to at the end of each day’s diary so that you can see how this year’s rallyists are doing.
But that’s enough blurbage from me – It’s a hot day in Barcelona and Bob’s trying to get his shit together … literally.
29 DECEMBER 2004 – SCRUTINEERING IN SPAIN
Barcelona (0 kms)
Note – Click here for the CMG Dakar Glossary (just in case you don’t understand some of the terminology used).
My bike (a KTM 660 Rally) only showed up yesterday afternoon. Despite leaving Canada over a week ago, for some unknown reason, British Airways decided it needed to have a little rest in London – for a week!
|Last minute adjustments.Photo: Sharon McCrindle|
When it finally did arrive, it had to go straight to scrutineering (the official examination of the bike to ensure it is up to the mechanical fitness and regulations). That only gave me this afternoon to put all the finishing touches to it, since post-scrutineering it would then have to sit in Parc Fermé, with all the other bikes. Once there it would be locked up until the official start and I wouldn’t be able to touch it again.
Scrutineering turned out to be a huge production, held in a big arena where fans could come and see all the vehicles and their pilots. It took over 3 hours to have all my documents checked, get the GPS unit, have photos taken, satellite phone checked, watch a video on how to use the Balise, etc, etc. Then the bike itself had to be checked, have the numbers applied, and the operation of the safety equipment checked.
Finally, around 10 pm, I was given a time card and road book and told to follow it to Parc Fermé. The road book took me out onto the streets of Barcelona to a checkpoint (CP) down by the dockyards (where my time card was stamped) and then back through the heart on the city to Placa du Espana, where Parc Fermé was situated.
I had always heard stories about how popular the Dakar was in Europe but I was in for a shock when I rode up La Rambla – Barcelona’s main drag. Flash bulbs started going off like I was going down the red carpet at the Oscars. Every time I came to a stop, people would run out and have their picture taken with me. I might as well have had Madonna riding on the back of the bike! It seemed like the whole town was out and they were all Rally fans.
After an hour I finally reached the solitude of Parc Fermé. Here I was instructed on how and where I was to park the bike and then sent back into the crowds where now autographs had to accompany the photos.
I finally managed to find a subway stop a few metres away and in 15 minutes I was in my hotel, climbed into bed and watched the days proceedings on the T.V.
Next day …
Dakar related Links:
Official Dakar website – Daily updates of the 2006 Rally.
Maindru Photo (who graciously supplied us with pictures) – Check out their daily update of pics from the 2006 Dakar.
Eurosport – Dakar 2006 coverage.
Total Motorsport – Latest news from a Dakar sponsor.
Adventure Rider website forum on racing – Lots of Dakar threads going on.
ODSC website – Read all about how Bob prepped his KTM 660.
Bob would like to thank the following people for helping make his Dakar adventure possible:
Jim, Colin, Richard and the crew at Cycle Improvements.
Michel, Paul and Jocelyn at Kimpex.
Guy, Patrick, Bill and Mario from KTM Canada.
Digby and the ODSC posse.
The Harden off-road crew.
Everyone on the U.S. Red Bull KTM team.
And of course Sharon McCrindle.